Running for cover

Around Alone's class two head for port as class one soldier on ready for a weekend of storm force headwinds

Thursday October 17th 2002, Author: James Boyd, Location: Transoceanic
The Around Alone fleet have today been enjoying relatively pleasant conditions from the high pressure system centred to the west of Portugal. The front runners this morning passed the latitude of the notorious Cape Finistere. But if there were ever a calm before the storm this would be it.

To the west two depressions are merging and the forecast charts show this 'perfect storm' shoving the high pressure system east back over Spain as it moves in to take its place. Tomorrow (Friday) the class one boats should see the wind veering from the north to the south east and building. By midday Saturday they will be negotiating 30-35 knots on the nose and this is expected to build to more than 60 knots over Saturday night.

Over the course of the weekend the storm will slowly move north causing the wind to go slowly right, although with no less intensity while Saturday night will see the cold front stretching off before them to the south like a motorway of misery.

With all this excitement brewing Tim Kent on Everest Horizontal and Derek Hatfield on Spirit of Canada are wisely swallowing their pride and following their fellow class two competitors to weather the storm in Spain. Kent and Hatfield are heading for La Coruna while van Liew's destination is Vigo.

During their time in port they will not be allowed outside assistance and will have to remain on board or risk a 48 hour penalty added to their elasped time for the leg. If they motor into harbour skippers must note the exact location of the boat when they switched the engine on a declaration and/or by film and must then return to the point they switched on the engine when they choose to restart. Skippers then must reseal their prop shafts and send details of how they managed this back to the race organisers.

At the present the Open 60s are forging south, to try if they can to get out of the worst of the weather. Flat bottomed Open 60s are not fun sailing upwind even in a moderate swell. Into the teeth of a gale they are horrendous and it will be interesting to see if they do the prudent thing and follow their class two brethren into port to find shelter tomorrow, if only to spare the boats the beating and possible breakage they are likely to be in for otherwise.

If the present medium term forecast is correct those who have gone to ground in Spain will be unlikely to be able to leave much before Tuesday or Wednesday next week.

See pages two and three for some weather charts
On page four Everest Horizontal's Tim Kent explains his reasoning

Positions at 1400GMT

Pos Name
DTF (nm)
DTL (nm)
Class one
1 Bobst Group Armor-Lux
42 20.360 N
16 03.520 W
4.51 kt
216 °T
2 Solidaires
42 29.710 N
14 23.137 W
7.29 kt
199 °T
3 Pindar
43 03.920 N
13 37.560 W
8.44 kt
202 °T
4 Hexagon
42 47.520 N
11 31.080 W
6.96 kt
213 °T
5 Ocean Planet
44 07.757 N
12 39.477 W
13.34 kt
179 °T
6 Tiscali
48 22.840 N
4 29.200 W
0.00 kt
146 °T
Class two
1 Tommy Hilfiger
43 53.560 N
9 36.817 W
8.13 kt
183 °T
2 Spirit of Yukoh
44 20.802 N
10 31.853 W
6.69 kt
138 °T
3 Everest Horizontal
45 10.275 N
12 48.398 W
10.26 kt
184 °T
4 Spirit of Canada
44 46.800 N
10 38.160 W
5.77 kt
143 °T
5 BTC Velocity
44 23.391 N
8 49.422 W
7.88 kt
182 °T
6 Bayer Ascensia
44 47.160 N
8 22.760 W
8.43 kt
181 °T

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